A pastor is facing backlash after he went to an Amarillo mall and preached to children that Santa Claus isn’t real.
The incident happened recently at Amarillo’s Westgate Mall, according to News Channel 10.
The pastor, David Grisham, who claimed to be with Last Frontier Evangelism, filmed a Facebook video of himself walking up to the mall’s Santa Claus line and planning to tell children that “there is no Santa Claus and that Christmas is about Jesus Christ.”
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“So here we go,” Grisham said, “we’re going to tell them the truth...Folks, my name is Pastor David. Kids, I wanted to tell you today there is no such thing as Santa Claus. There is no such thing as Santa Claus. Santa Claus does not exist. The Christmas season is about Jesus.”
Grisham’s message didn’t last long before he was interrupted.
“That’s enough! That’s enough!” one woman said. “Those are my children.”
Another man approached Grisham, trying to make him leave.
“Chill out,” the man told Grisham. “I got my kids over there. We don’t need you coming over here...Don’t come over here talking your mess.”
The Last Frontier Evangelism Facebook page on Monday posted that Facebook removed Grisham’s video.
The page says the group’s mission is to “take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Last Frontier (Alaska). Through street evangelism, street preaching and teaching calling on Lost to repent.”
Grisham is also the leader of Repent Amarillo, a hate group recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Last year, he won a federal lawsuit after the group was thrown out of a gay pride rally for protesting, according to News Channel 10.
He sat down with the TV station for an interview that aired Monday night in which he defended his preaching at the mall.
“I wanted to preach to kids and tell them — and their parents — that there is no Santa Claus and that Santa Claus does not represent Christmas and that Christmas is really about Jesus Christ,” he said. “My intention was to go in there and make a video and then post it online and see if I could get a few hits and maybe start changing the conversation away from Santa Claus and more toward Jesus Christ at Christmastime.”
He also said he got “dozens and dozens of death threats” on social media afterward.
He told the station he was moved to act because “basically Santa Claus is usurping Christmas from Christ. ... So I wanted to change that conversation.”